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Rose-less Bulls thwart rising Grizzlies; snap 6-game win streak

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By: Tom Joel Paliangayan

Without their illing backcourt general Derrick Rose, Bulls’ Stellar rookie Nikola Mirotic covered the sore for Chicago Bulls as he blasted a career-high 27 points including his perfect six out of six shooting beyond the arc to pull off an upset triumph over the Memphis Grizzlies, 103-97, at FedEx Forum, Memphis, Dec. 19.
Jimmy Butler also contributed big with 31 points and 10 rebounds together with his series of short daggers at the crucial moments almost tying up his career-high 35 point break-out at their last game with New York Knicks.
Struggling Mike Conley of Memphis managed to produce 21 points with 7/18 outing along the double-double stats of Marc Gasol, 13 points and 10 rebounds but not enough to beat his older brother, Pau Gasol with 6 points and 11 rebounds in their basketball rivalry.
Bulls built-up a reachable nine point-lead with less than five minutes remaining on the clock courtesy of hard slashes and impeccable timing by Butler, 87-78 that put the pressure on the other side.
Home team Grizzlies trimmed down the gap little by little through younger Gasol’s might at the shaded area with more than 1 minute away but the white shirts failed to stop the heroic deeds of Butler down the stretch that sealed their loss.
Both teams started the opening quarter with the slow pace together with the bad start of the Gasol Brothers infecting the whole team that resulted to a low 22-20 finish in the opening salvo in favor of Grizzlies.
Grizzlies had their chance to come closer at the end of the first half but Mirotic’s hot hands from downtown executed well that lifted up their momentum entering the third quarter,51-43.
Aside from missing Rose, Bulls also lost their Power Forward, Taj Gibson due to sprained right ankle but still managed to keep up with the pace of Grizzlies inside the paint.
Chicago improved their standings with their 17-9 campaign after pulling down the soaring Grizzlies with 21-5 win-loss record.
“He’s not afraid. He makes tough plays, he hustles all the time, he’s never satisfied, and I love that about him.” Bulls’ coach Tom Thibodeau said about the impressive performance of Mirotic.
Editor’s note: Tom Joel Paliangayan is a 4th year high school student in Liceo de San Pedro. He is a qualifier for the RSPC in Lipa City this January for Sports Writing.
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